32 – SO NEAR AND YET SO FAR

With the shores of Canada directly across the Detroit River from the RenCen, and a bridge and a tunnel nearby crossing the river, it was a temptation to visit Canada. Everyone else in our group was prepared with a passport (even Barkley the dog has papers permitting him to cross borders), but thinking I would never need one again I had allowed mine to be long expired. So, although Canada was right there and easily accessible, I wouldn’t have been able to cross there and back without being detained.

This led Gayle to tell me how important it was for me to have a passport, never knowing where our wanderings might take us on future trips. (That boded well.) Even after returning to home territory I procrastinated, but finally, just around this past Thanksgiving, I decided I’d better do something about it.

Because it was so long expired I couldn’t renew it the quick and easy way by internet but needed a special form and had to renew at a local post office. I decided an old-fashioned phone book was the way to find the number to call, but I quickly discovered that not all post offices are listed. So I went to the web and found it, called it, and was told that appointments for passport applications were “same day only,”–to call at 9:00 a.m. on the day I wanted to come in. Okay.

I printed out the form I needed, completed it, and gathered copies of the documents I required to prove my identity. I called promptly at 9:00 the Monday before Thanksgiving, only to be told that passport applications weren’t being handled because it was a holiday week. So I called the following week and consistently got the busy signal. I called several other post offices in the area. Many smaller ones no longer deal with passports and one said it would take six weeks to get an appointment. Then a friend said she could get me an appointment and did, in another local town.

Again a rude awakening! The passport photo, done by a firm that regularly does them, was 1/8 inch too small, and the birth certificate and marriage certificate copies weren’t certified. So I went home and printed out and completed necessary forms for two different departments in San Francisco, with two separate fees and two notarized affidavits that I am who I say I am, enclosed the required self-addressed stamped envelopes, and mailed them. Even with holiday postal traffic, I did receive the certified documents in the promised ten days. Then off to the neighboring post office again, had photo taken there, and completed the filing of the application in eight minutes. Now we’ll see if the passport arrives in the estimated three to six weeks.

Trivia Answer: The Detroit Marriott doesn’t have Floors 13, 7, or 8. The elimination of 13 is common. I’ve searched a lot, but the only possible reason I’ve found for the elimination of 7 and 8 is that in 2010 there was a TV crime drama called Detroit 1-8-7, and I don’t know if there’s any connection.

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  1. Tera
    • Dorothy Mitchell

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